While working during the last few weeks I’ve semi-listened to wall-to-wall coverage of the election— fair and balanced white noise; or not.
Realizing that my head was ready to explode, I took a respite from the talking heads and changed to the National Geographic channel. And my mind melted. During the hour, the channel ran a piece about evolution. Admittedly, I am not a savant on the subject, but what caught my attention was the narrator’s explanation about the time millions of years ago when fish first walked from the sea.
I turned my eyes from the television and began to study the fish in my aquarium. I looked at them closely. Really closely. I stuck a magnifying glass into the tank trying to get a close up, but the fish were swimming in all directions and all of my attempts to look at their hindquarters proved fruitless. Did my fish not get the email about being able to walk?
I placed a tiny set of stairs in the tank to encourage them. Did my fish not get the email about being able to walk?
And I started to think. Bad things happen when I let my mind wander. I pictured a pebble-strewn beach. Gentle waves pushing ever onward to the shore, the pebbles making little clicking sounds as they scraped against each other in the surf.
And then I saw thousands fish of fish pop their little fish heads up from under the water and look around. They began walking from the surf, unsure of where they were headed. Their mass exodus from the water made me think of the allied landing at Normandy.
One of the fish was wearing a wet stronger together t-shirt. Many were wearing tiny pairs of Nikes to protect their little fish feet. About a minute into the onslaught, the leader of the fish bent from his waist and he reached down to his Nike’s. His left shoe had become untied.
He tried to tie his shoes with his little fish hands. But he did not have little fish opposable thumbs and his Nikes remained untied.
Maybe the National Geographic theory was all wet.
So, where did we leave off? At the end of the fish story, a television commercial was marketing a new disease. The spokesperson was Hollywood celebrity whose fame had faded, so now he was selling diseases. The premise of the commercial, like dozens of others that have popped up over the last few years, goes something like this.
“Do your fingers ever twitch at inopportune times, like when you are at dinner, and you are reaching for your glass of wine? You try to stop the twitching, and in doing so you knock over the glass. Your glass knocks over the lit candle. The candle catches the tablecloth on fire.
You dash away from the flames, forgetting the engagement ring you had purchased and left on your table, and you rush to the nearest exit. The next thing you know the entire restaurant is engulfed in flames, and your one chance to be engaged has been lost forever.
Has that ever happened to you? If your life has suddenly gone downhill, you may have TFS—Twitchy Finger Syndrome. There now is a cure for TFS. It’s called Twitchacin. Ask your physician about this wonder drug. Within six weeks your finger will stop twitching and you will be engaged and your life will be wonderful.”
Does it seem like big pharma has been creating new diseases out of whole cloth? Diseases you did not know you had? Some of these new diseases sound a little silly. The companies that make the drugs know you can’t tell your physician that you have twitchy finger syndrome of the left hand. Because if you said that, your doctor will simply tell you to use your right hand.
But, if you tell your physician that you have TFS and need a prescription for Twitchacin, he or she may check their PDR and write a script. Your fingers will stop twitching and your life will be wonderful.
And now that your fingers don’t twitch, if you should happen upon a fish whose shoes are untied, you will be able to bend over and tie his Nikes.
So the next time you see a commercial pitching a disease you didn’t know existed, think twice before you hit the mute button.